Like everyone else, the librarycook’s 2020 has not been quite as she imagined it. Those dinner parties she’d planned – cancelled. The sharing of food at gatherings – not permitted.  But of course, meals must still be planned, made, and eaten, and the librarycook is grateful for the new ideas she garners from the many mouth-watering recipes that feature each month in Delicious.

The October issue was no exception, but the librarycook soon settled on a dessert, and a one-pot traybake (nothing eats into reading time like washing up does).

The dessert first up – the librarycook always chooses her main course based on what dessert might be along later.  And the chilled coconut rice pudding with rhubarb jam spoke to her depths. This really was one of those dishes that practically cooks itself, leading to an enviable C:R (Cooking:Reading ratio).  Some trivial stirring and simmering, then into a baking dish for an hour and a half, needing the librarycook’s attention only a couple of times along the way.  Even the rhubarb jam wasn’t too much of an intrusion into her reading time (Troubled Blood, Robert Galbraith’s latest gripping Cormoran Strike novel) – all it needed was a little stirring for less than ten minutes.  Adding to her reading time, the pudding needed an hour to cool down – and it was delicious.  Even better, there was leftover rhubarb jam to be added to muesli for the next few days.

The news that Sunday night’s dinner would feature kale was not greeted with unalloyed joy in the librarycook household.  Persevering, the librarycook discovered that the recipe, for chicken braised in white wine, bay and mustard, needed only a little prep and then almost an hour in the oven – again, an ideal C:R ratio.  And proving the doubters wrong, the whole thing was excellent – filling, tasty, and best of all, hardly any washing up.

Strozzapreti, Coconut Rice Pudding, and Braised Chicken

Next up, but not from Delicious, was the Neil Perry recipe for strozzapreti, fennel, tomato and olive vinaigrette – this one from Good Weekend, and available to Trinity readers on the online subscription to the Sydney Morning Herald. Sadly, whilst easy to prepare, there was virtually no reading time, because all that was required of the librarycook was some very basic chopping – only the pasta itself needed cooking.  Neil suggested that anchovies could be omitted, which the librarycook very wisely ignored. Almost anything that tastes good without anchovies, she thought, will taste even better with them.  Neil’s recipes often seem to suggest that he doesn’t realise the home cook’s sad lack of kitchen staff, but this one was not only delectable, but perfect for the summer ahead.

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